Palo Alto 2013 Day 2 – Santa Cruz

Nothing like a coffee on the beach for a mid-way stop on a bike ride.

Today we headed south to Santa Cruz, following a portion of the 2012 Tour of California route that dropped from Summit Rd down the Soquel San Jose descent. To get there we climbed up Old HWY 17. Crazy to think of the days when getting from the Bay Area to the coast meant driving over the hills on a two lane road. Even now with the new HWY 17 as a full highway the drive is fairly dangerous.

We stopped in Capitola above the beach to look across the bay to Monterey in the distance. Then headed up the coast another ten minutes for our beach side coffee. A couple of games of beach volleyball were being played, bumping the ball back and forth.

Taking a look across at Monterey

Taking a look across at Monterey

The ride home is definitely the tougher part of the trip. From sea level you have to climb back up to 580m to get over the top of the hills. It happens in three climbs though, getting progressively larger with the last taking about 30mins, with some good pitches towards the top of over 10%. Mixed in with some flatter sections, bumpy pavement, and a very narrow road the climb is an interesting one.

Climbing, what else?

Climbing, what else?

Once we had topped out over the hills we descended back to where we started and decided that for fun we would ride up one last climb. 10mins at 9% was a good way to end the day. Total elevation today 1650m. It’s going up, and closer to the 3400m we want to ride to match some of the elevation gain Rob is going to see at the Hautes Routes this summer. That comes tomorrow.

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